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The summer brings fun in the sun, but the hot sun can also cause severe
damage, particularly to children, if parents are not careful. This is
particularly true when it comes to the risk of vehicular heat stroke.
Leaving children in hot cars even for a few minutes can cause serious
injury, or even death. According to kidsandcars.org, on average, 37 children
die each year from vehicular heat stroke. Just last year in Georgia, 22-month old
Cooper Harris died after his father left him in the back seat of his Hyundai Tucson
while he spent the day at work. The temperature was well over 90 degrees
that day, which translates to over 100 degrees inside a hot car.Kidsandcars.org has compiled the following safety tips to avoid vehicular heatstroke:
Never leave children alone in or around cars – not even for a minute.
Put something you need on the floor in the backseat of your car (i.e. cell
phone, briefcase, employee id, etc.).
Create a habit of always opening the back door of the car every time you
arrive at your destination to ensure no child has been left behind.
To remind yourself that your child is in the back seat of your car, keep
a larger stuffed animal in the child’s car seat when your child
is not in the car. When the child is in the car seat, move the stuff animal
to the front passenger seat. This will serve as a visual reminder that
when the stuffed animal is sitting in the front seat, your child is sitting
in the back of your car.
If your child will not be attending day care or require a babysitter on
any given day, make sure that you inform all relevant parties. This will
set an example that you will always keep relevant parties informed of
your child’s whereabouts. Ask for the same in return, as many children’s
lives could have been saved with a call from a child care provider. Ensure
that your childcare provider has every telephone number they may need
so that they are always able to inform you of the whereabouts of your child.
Keep vehicles locked at all times to avoid the risk that your child may
sneak into your vehicle without your knowledge.
Ensure that your keys or any remote openers are kept out of reach of children
at all times.
After you park your car, always ensure that all child passengers are out
of the car.
If a child is missing, always check vehicles and car trunks first.
If you happen to see a child alone in a car, intervene immediately. If
a child looks hot or seems sick, get them out of the car as soon as possible,
and call for emergency assistance immediately.
Be especially cautious about leaving alone children in vehicles during
busy times, holidays, or schedule changes.
When available, use drive through services so you do not have to think
about leaving your child in your vehicle.
When getting gas, pay at the pump with a debit or credit card.